David Baum, with the support of national business networking organisation 4Networking, has reached a global audience with his year-long campaign The 365 Challenge.
David, aged 59, who lives in Bushey, Hertfordshire, launched the challenge a year ago on August 15 2016, after realising he needed to do something to raise awareness of PTSD.
Next week – on the first anniversary – he’ll launch the second 365 Challenge with the support of gyms and followers across the UK.
Twenty years ago, David came to a point in his life where his mental health was suffering and he – aged 39 – hit a crisis brought on by various traumatic experiences.
“The truth is,” David said. “I had a terrible time at school where I was bullied as a teenager. I was bullied because I was Jewish, as I was a shampoo boy working in a hair salon during my teenage years, I was taunted about being gay – I’m not gay, not that there’s anything wrong with that. There were times I wanted to kill myself.
“I did get through it but later my two boys both suffered serious medical incidents, and then my wife Mel was diagnosed with breast cancer. Mel got through it, but I hadn’t realised my mental health was so affected.
“I suffered flashbacks” typically if I saw one of the bullies in the street, or at a disco, or even in my nightmares, where I would wake up soaked in perspiration. Often if I saw an article about bullying, or even if it was part of a story line in a film or television programme it would trigger memories. I often found it difficult to focus and at times it did affect my ability to do my job, or even being able to emotionally support my family. It was only after Mel insisted that I seek help, was I diagnosed with PTSD. Through counselling I was able to finally come to turns with what had happened to me.”
The businessman, who is involved with the debt collection industry through WCR Ltd, was inspired by the 22 Push Up Challenge in 2016, which went viral across the internet and was started by American military veterans. It challenged people to do 22 push-ups every day for 22 days, in honour of the 22 American veterans who take their own lives daily.
For David, that challenge didn’t go far enough.
“It was just in the USA and just within the military where PTSD is more well known. However, it didn’t take into account those veterans affected elsewhere or in fact anyone affected by trauma in their lives. This condition goes far deeper and wider than many realise – it affects many thousands of men, women and children every day throughout the world.”
So David came up with The 365 Challenge where participants commit to doing exercise or activity daily for a year, and upload their journey on social media. On days 1 to 99, participants do 22 reps of an exercise of their choice, days 100 to 199 it’s 30 reps, 200 to 299 it’s 40 reps and for the last 65 days it’s 50.
David’s year comes to an end on August 15, when he will be launching The 365 Challenge - The Next Generation**.** This is where a participant will be asked to see how many reps they can do in 90 seconds for the first 100 sessions, then 120 seconds, then 180 and finally 240 seconds.
“The aim has been to raise awareness – it’s not about money or sponsorship. I’ve been supported by The Gym in Watford and The Gym Group itself, the charity MIND and also 4Networking, where fellow members have supported and encouraged me. This has gone global, I’ve got people taking part in this challenge all over the UK and as far afield as France, Slovenia, the USA, Australia & Singapore,” David said.
Jason Dutton, managing director of 4N said: “"4N is all about helping business owners to grow and achieve their objectives. Within our network there are also many members who undertake charitable and uplifting activities for the greater good and we're pleased David is able to raise awareness of PTSD via 4N."
David is a member of 4Networking which is the UK’s No 1 joined up national business network, providing sales leads, support, contacts and trusted suppliers. It runs more than 5,000 events a year and has more than 250 active groups. David is a member of the London Canary Wharf group. For more information visit www.4networking.biz
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